Courtney Leiva
August 23, 2017 9:00 am
Image Courtesy of Courtney Levia

Whether it’s improving your diet or learning more about your family history, it’s safe to say that the budding DNA kit trend is not going away anytime soon. And although I have used a genetics test to get a better understanding of my mental health in the past, never have I ever used a DNA kit in order to discover more about my unique skin profile. So, when the geniuses at ORIG3N offered me a chance to try their new AURA test, I was more than ready to jump at the opportunity. I was more than curious to see what the results would reflect based on my genetics.

When the AURA DNA kit finally arrived at my doorstep, I was really eager to get the whole process going. Of course, I had suspicions of how my results would turn out based on my family history, (lots of acne, cellulite, etc.) but being that this kit would also examine my skin-aging, skin elasticity, UV sensitivity, and overall appearance, I was all in for sure.

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Being that each ORIG3N kit came with detailed instructions, collecting DNA and sending my sample wouldn’t be a difficult job. To kickstart the collection process, the handy instructions first advised me to rinse my mouth at least two times with some water, just to make sure everything was ready when it came time to swab my mouth.

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Then, to use my swab accurately, I simply separated the swab from the sleeve and proceeded to use the swab inside my mouth.

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To collect enough DNA, I was sure to rub the tip of the swab firmly on the inside of the cheeks for approximately 20 times on each side of the mouth. When doing so, I carefully moved the swab over the entire inside of each cheek, just to make sure there was enough saliva on the tip.

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Once I got enough saliva on my swab, the instructions advised me to wave my swab in the air for about 30 seconds. Afterwards, I placed the swab back inside the sleeve and prepared my sample to be sent back for analyzation.

Now, waiting for the kit is actually the hardest part, as it usually takes a couple of weeks to get your results. That’s why before I sent my kit out, I actually registered it online, so I could accurately view my results, once they were available. But if you want to view your results through an app, you can simply download the LifeProfile app from Apple App store to view your results on your phone. Just be sure to always register your test, as that is the most important part.

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Once I got the email notifying my results were in, I was ready to discover the science behind DNA. Upon logging on the ORIG3N site to review my results, I noticed that the test broke down DNA into four different categories: skin-aging, skin elasticity, skin health, and UV sensitivity. Each category tells you more about your skin, including more details about your genetic patterns, and how they compare to the rest of the population.

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For example, the first skin aging category told me a lot about how my skin repairs itself. Genes tested in this category were also known for regulating skin thinning, wrinkling, and protection from damage. In reviewing my results, I was surprised to learn that skin-aging profile was fairly normal. This means I’ll age practically like the rest of the human population based on my genetics. And although the gifted (meaning your genes are strong in certain categories) or adapted (areas you’ll want to improve) tabs weren’t checked off my chart here, I was sure there would be areas in the other categories that would be flagged with these special markers.

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Much like I thought, the skin elasticity part of the test (looks at genes, which find out how strong and elastic your skin is) proved to be a much different story. Although my predisposition to stretch marks and collagen breakdown were fairly normal, of course, cellulite and skin wrinkling were areas that needed improvement. But instead of just flagging certain genes and not offering any suggestions, the website (or app!) gives you helpful suggestions to alleviate any existing skin issues marked down here.

Consuming gelatin and dry brushing, for example, were helpful remedies to consider against cellulite. Similarly, the profile also recommended investing in skin renewal products and vitamin-enriched creams to help deal with any skin wrinkling I may experience.

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Similar to the skin elasticity of the portion of the test, I had very interesting results in the appearance and skin health category. This part of the test helps find out if you are predisposed to having dry or moist skin, and also tells you how effectively your epidermis transports water through your skin. While I surprisingly didn’t have itchy or dry skin to worry about, there were categories that were flagged as concerning. Although I didn’t have the CC gene, which usually reflects severe acne, I did fall under the CC gene category, which did have acne as a moderate concern. Similarly, graying early was something I was also to look out for, but I surprisingly already had a knowledge about this, especially since my mom grayed as early as her 20s.

However, I did have gifted genes in this portion of the test, especially in the thick hair category. Hopefully, this will last (fingers crossed!) as I age. I also did get a kick out of also being gifted in the monobrow category, as I practically spit out my water reading this one out loud. Although I thankfully don’t have a monobrow that’s visible for the world see, I am secretly hoping this gene has secretly blessed me with the thick brows I try so very hard to take care of.

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Finally, the last portion of the AURA test also measured sun sensitivity. This part of the test helps find out how sensitive your skin is to the effects of exposure to sunlight and UV radiation. While my skin overall reacted pretty normally to sun exposure, I was pretty shocked to learn I was gifted in the sun sensitivity category. This meant I may be less sensitive to skin damage from the sun than others. This came as a huge surprise, especially since a day at the beach usually leaves me red like a lobster.

Overall, this test was a pretty fun way to gain an understanding how my genes play a big part in my skin health. Although a lot of the information here wasn’t surprisingly new to me, (I always knew I’d gray early!) I was stunned to learn about my super strong monobrow gene and the fact that I’m apparently less sensitive to sun damage compared to most people. However, most importantly, learning about the different genetic formations that make up our skin was pretty darn fascinating, as I never knew anything about this before.

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